By which Ships are enabled to Sail Faster than they now do in a heavy Sea,
By William Playfair
This Invention consists in placing on the bow of the Ship, or on such part of
it as the opposing wave strikes, a shield or waterskreen,
between which and the Ship are springs to let it retire back upon the Ship in
such a manner, as that the time during which the wave acts is prolonged, and
that hard crash prevented that takes place against those Ships which have not
such a protection. This shield or skreen is so made, as to be without
difficulty placed whenever the wave happens to strike, and changed from that
to any other when circumstances require it. The shield is above the water-line
when the Ship is in an horizontal position, being only under water when the
waves comes, so that it may not impede the sailing of the Vessel, by making it
cut the water with more difficulty, when there is no water to oppose it.
It is well known, by the effects of spring carriages, as well as by the
resistance that elastic substances give even to the most violent shocks (even
cannon shot), that much may be effected by the interposing an elastic
substance between two bodies moving in opposite directions, It is well known
also, that water is a hard body when striking or struck suddenly, and
that prolonging the time of collision diminishes greatly the effect produced
by the blow.
The elasticity of the French Vessels, rather than any superiority of form,
has for some time been believed to occasion their quick sailing. The well
known fact, that Vessels sail faster after they have been strained (if not
strained too much), than taken quite stiff from the stocks, also augurs well,
and in favour of this invention; of which however, the real utility remains to
be proved by experiment; and finally, by putting it in practice.
As the object is immense to a Country like this, the prosperity and safety
of which depend on its Naval superiority, there can be little doubt that every
justice will be done to this invention, and that if it is found useful it will
amply reward the inventor.
Naval Chronicle, Vol. 5 (1801), p 128.
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